Hi everybody,

this weekend I had the immense pleasure to be a part again of the, 2008 “BURRS” residential bonsai workshop weekend, that Tony Tickle organize every year. This was already my 3 time there and I am already committed to doing the next one in 2009. And it is almost fully booked, so if you are interested to join us next year, you can find more Information here:

I must admit that lately, I have lost my belief in a part of the bonsai community. I was so very disheartened by the behaviour and attitude of some, that I decided to stay out of any debate in the future, that could not be won, even if I was right! So I have stopped posting on some forums to avoid temptation and aggravation. My precious time is better spent on my own Bonsai and Bonsai friends. It just wasn’t worth any more of my good intended time!

But after this weekend in “BURRS”, being an intimate part of this large group of egoless and pretentious Bonsai lovers, that I call my friends, I know again, where I can find the true heart and soil of Bonsai.

They all come every year to this magical place in the U.K, from different countries in Europe, to teach, learn, eat and drink and have immense fun while creating beautiful stuff!!!

I thank all these dear Bonsai friends for their trust in us. This weekend was like a warm bath for me and you all revived my spirit and believes! Thanks Tony for organizing this event so well every year! And thanks to Ivo, Enrico and my dear friend Terry for their love of Bonsai!

I will see you all next year in magical “BURRS”!!!

                                                “Turkey Cats” Rules !!!

Have fun,

Hans van Meer.


The picture above: I arrived at the “John Lennon” airport in Liverpool early Friday morning, where my dear friend Tony Tickle was waiting for me. We then drove up North, had a typical English breakfast in a fully for Halloween converted diner, while we waited for my other friends Lee and Simon to arrive. From there we drove up to a wonderful place to collect some Yamadori from a rather steep and hard to climb mountain. This picture tells how lucky I felled to be able to do that because only a week ago my back problems became so bad that I could hardly sit up, let along climb up a mountainside. It took some heavy medication, but I made it up there! The Bonsai gods were with me again on this one!

          Below: The view was breathtakingly beautiful and worth the struggle!

Below: I took this other lovely view after I had to climb down most of the way to find my camera that had fallen out of my broken backpack. I was lucky again to find it back amongst all the Black and Hawthorns, but having to struggle all the way up again was no walk in the park for me!

              Below: picture: Tony and Simon found their first Hawthorn.

Below: Early next Saturday morning at Terry’s place, while he allowed me to get a bit more sleep, he prepared everything to pot my collected trees in plastic containers. Then he woke me up, and with a warm cup of real thee, we started to do this exciting work! This promising Hawthorn was collected by Simon and Tony for me.

Below: After a fitting container was found, the tree was firmly secured from 4 sides to prevent any movement. Then it was filed up with a mixture of Akadama and Biosorb.

Below: This Hawthorn is planted in a cascading style, this meant some roots up the trunk were exposed to the air. That’s why Terry placed some Sphagnum moss around it, so they would stay alive to help the recovery of the tree next growing season. Later on, when the tree shows enough signs of recovering, they could be removed!

Below: Here are my 6 Yamadori potted up. So it was time for the lovely breakfast that Terry prepared as well for us! You got to love this guy!!!

 Below: Here we just arrived at the “BURRS” venue. Isn’t this a fitting way to move a great talent and his wonderful material! 🙂  

                                 Below: Hawthorn after first serious cutting.

Below: Simon wiring his Pine. This odd-looking Yamadori turned out to be rather stunning in the end!

Below: Mister Tickle googling over the bulging root base of Simons Pine. Note the screw that is placed in the deadwood section to help pull down the whole top section to enhance the movement.

              The surprising end result, a promising stylish Literati Bonsai!

           Simon and his little helper are proud of what they accomplished! 🙂

                                          Below: Pine forest on a natural slab.

            Below: Ivo working on the deadwood of Jerry’s Mugo Yamadori.

Below: My quick drawing, of a possible future, for  Jerry’s Mugo(the one above). He was very excited about it, I hope he brings the tree with him next year?!

 Below: Cutting away this to thick and straight cascading branch on this Juniper, instantly created a very exciting fat Shohin!

                  Below: Eric and Ivo, having a get to getter, over Eric’s Larch.

Below: Like in earlier editions, Potter and Bonsai artist John Pitt had brought along an import tree for Enrico and a Yamadori tree for me to help to style. This unique larch turned out very nice and looks very natural.

                                            Below: A stunning Sylvestris Pine.

                                          Below: A typical Yamadori Larch.

  Below: My quick design drawing as a possibility and a guide for the student.

Below: With the help of wet raffia and copper wire the tree is already brought an end in the right direction.

                              Below: Concentrated at work…I love to see that!

                           Below: And yet another finished promising Bonsai!

                                                              Below: SWEAT!!

Below: Then on Saturday evening the very tasty traditional Diner as always prepared by Tony’s lovely wife Carolyn.

                     Below: Andrew “stone monkey” concentrated as always.

Below: Me clowning around like most of the time before the evening demo of Terry Foster and little old me!

            Below: The students looking and listening on during our demo’s.

                  Below: Jerry looking at what we are doing and explaining.

Below: Terry did a lot of the wiring while I did sitting down most of the deadwood! And there was a lot of it on this unique old Yew from Terry’s own collection.

Below: Every big decision was discussed by me or terry and explained with the students before they were actually done!

Below: I have placed the tree in front of a white wall and covered the back branch to show and discuss how it would look with or without it?!

Below: Asking the audience what they think about removing that left side branch?! Enrico and Jihn are debating it together.

Below: You can see just how tired I am after this long day! Here we are discussing the end result of a not so usual styling of a unique Yew.

Below: The end result for now. A not twelve in a dozen Pre Bonsai with a lot of character and flair!

                                            Below: The guy’s being funny! 🙂

Below: The Dutch posy!  Finally everybody, in the pub 25 meters across the road for a beer or two…tree…four…who is counting anyway?! 


We had a great evening/night and Terry and I went on at his place until deep in the night, sampling fine Scottie’s Whiskey and talking like the good friends that we are for such a long time now! The Sunday session was over before we knew it and then it all ends so fast and I had to walk past my great hero John Lennon again entering the Liverpool airport! Yet another magnificent “BURRS” weekend is over and what a great experience it was again! Thanks, Tony, Carolyn, Terry, Charlotte and thanks, Enrico, Ivo and all student for making this such a amazing experiance again!

                                                 “AND ABOVE US ONLY SKY”


Hans van Meer.










                                                     “And above us only sky”

*more to come!

Hans van Meer.



  1. Hi Hans

    It was good to see you to at Burrs. What a fantastic weekend and I am so so

    pleased with “The Italian Job” it has taken pride of place in my garden!

    I also wish more events can be staged like this as it is weekends like Burrs

    that truly bring out the spirit of Bonsai and break down all barriers and form

    new friendships.

    Looking forward to seeing you again, I will be at Noelanders with

    Mr Tickle so I may se you there

    All the best my friend and long live the Turkey Cats!!

    Kindest regards

    Andy “Stone Monkey”


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